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  • Attorney Leroy Scott

Finesse of the Lying Salesman: Your Rights under the DTPA.

When I was buying a car in law school, the salesman tried to sell me a warranty plan. “It’s a good deal,” he said. I replied that this was a relatively new car and the warranty was only for 2 years. “Nothing is going to happen to the car in two years,” I said. To which he replied, “even if the car breaks down after that, you can take it in and we will fix it at no cost.” Having just taken a course in contract law, I asked “can you write that on the sales agreement and sign it.” Of course, he refused and so I did not get the warranty plan.

Behaviors like these happen every day. A salesman tries to make a sale by telling you whatever he thinks will close the deal.

“Is the transmission good in this car?” “Yes, it is. We did a 16-point inspection and it’s perfect. Just sign here.”

“If this does not work, can I get a refund?” “Sure you can! Just sign here.”

“What if I cannot afford the payments?” “Don’t worry about that. If you cannot afford the payment, just return it. Sign here.”

LIES, LIES, all LIES! What can you do? What if the document you signed said you bought the item “as is” with no warranties or refunds?

First of all, never listen to anything a sales people say if it is not in writing. Ask them to put it in writing and if they won’t, don’t trust them.

Second of all, if representations are made to you during a transaction, make sure you keep a record of it. Maybe write it down, or bring another person to the transaction with you. One client secretly recorded a defendant making all sorts of false statements to him during the transaction. Of course, he did not know they were false at the time. But that recording made it easy to prove the claim.

The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) may provide some relief to persons who were deceived during certain consumer transactions. Specifically, the DTPA aims to “protect consumers against false, misleading, and deceptive business practices, unconscionable actions, and breaches of warranty and to provide efficient and economical procedures to secure such protection.”

If you think you may have a claim under the DTPA, please call, text or email me. It does not matter whether your potential claim is big or small.

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